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Looking to Start a dive club on Campus

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by Jonah Perry, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. Jonah Perry

    Jonah Perry New

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Swansea MA, USA
    Looking to start a dive club at the college I attend, what are some things to keep in mind with the idea of this?
    kelemvor likes this.
  2. nolatom

    nolatom Captain

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Orleans
    You're in Wales? I have no local knowledge, I'm in New Orleans. And have never tried organizing a dive club anywhere. Doesn't stop me from giving (really general) advice ;-)
    Looks from your icon you're fairly new to diving. And in cold water if it's the UK. You might start by liaising with a dive shop near you, they may have prior experience in helping such a club along. If you envision mostly new divers (?), then getting certified would be the logical start, that dive shop may have a local pool, and may be used to teaching groups. They'd start with classroom and then pool, for the Open Water certification.

    Costs money, but worth it. And you will need the Cert card to get air fills, and to get onto the typical dive boat.

    If you attract more experienced certified divers, then I don't know exactly, but they can advise how they might be helpful to the newbies. Then once all are certified, you look for places to dive, keeping the lowest-common-denominator in mind, don't challenge the new divers with challenging dive sites. Safety is first, last, and always.

    My useful knowledge is now tapped out. Others will chime in who know more. Best wishes.
  3. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    If you’re in the UK, why don’t you contact BSAC for assistance?
  4. Edward3c

    Edward3c Instructor, Scuba

    Hi Jonah,

    You have 2 options.
    1. Start an ordinary BSAC club, or
    2. Start a BSAC University club

    In either case contact 0151 350 6201 and ask for assistance.

    You can PM me if for any question if you want, as I’m on the Board.
    Vitesse2l likes this.
  5. Jonah Perry

    Jonah Perry New

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Swansea MA, USA
    Im in Swansea MA, sorry bout the confusion
  6. rx7diver

    rx7diver Solo Diver

    @Jonah Perry,

    Some things to think about:

    1. Reason for the club? For example, will this be primarily a social club that facilitates local dives for already-certified fellow students? Some other type of club?

    2. Has there ever been such a club at your college? If so, what was the story?

    3. Do you intend for your club to be supported in part by college funds? Maybe college funds + dues? If so, find out who (i.e., which campus organization) you need to submit a proposal to. Maybe something like the Student Government Association, if they dispense funds to various student activities organizations. Such a group will detail the specifics you will need for your petition (e.g., faculty/staff advisor). You will be competing against other clubs, like the Wilderness Adventure Club or similar, for funding.

    4. Maybe get some initial info and direction from the Dean of Students or similar.

    Jonah Perry likes this.
  7. Seaweed Doc

    Seaweed Doc MSDT ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle, Washington State, USA
    If you're in the US, I would expect the university won't formally sanction a club for liability reasons. That said, a lot of universities have informal clubs that don't rely on the university for anything. Word of mouth gets and keeps them going. Ask around, one may already exist and be operating under the radar.
  8. divezonescuba

    divezonescuba ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Houston, Texas
    I am in the process of starting a Scuba Club at the university of Houston. It has been temporarily been derailed due to Covid 19. Hopefully it will resume the process.

    You definitely have to have a faculty member as the sponsor for it to be official. We have not encountered insurance difficulties. The faculty member has to go thru some training, so it is not a simple process. It would be best if there was a close connection to a dive shop.

    Since I am a faculty member, a dive instructor, and am associated with a diveshop, the most difficult aspects are covered. I also searched for other faculty members who had scuba interest on their profiles.

    The other issue is the rotating body of students. So you need to have a continuous stream coming thru. Sometimes, I see students that I have certified thru the shop on campus and point them in that direction.
    Jonah Perry likes this.
  9. wheeledgoat

    wheeledgoat Covid Vaccinated ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: chicago, IL
    I am not trying to dissuade you from doing this - I think it's a great idea and encourage you to do so! For realistic planning though, it may be helpful to estimate how much participation you might expect. I believe a good figure for this (and rough math) would be 1%, which is the general population's participation in diving (approx). Also, I might bet that a college campus situation (where students have less disposable income) would drive that number lower, but who knows. Good luck!
  10. OTF

    OTF Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: same ocean as you
    I ran several college clubs including a scuba club, schools allow it but lots of PITA hoops to jump through. We organized low cost certification classes at the school, did local diving, ran fairly popular discover scuba events and sometimes other fun stuff in the pool. We owned a fleet of gear for students to use on club dives and training. We also held movie or trivia nights and other silly non-diving off-season stuff. One time we actually held an "underwater basket weaving" class at the bottom of the pool. I thought it was hilarious but the joke went over some heads.

    Get the ball rolling first with a big list of interested people and their emails. Keep a newsletter going. You need a faculty advisor and solid group of core members plus fringe members who go to some events. It takes time to reach the critical mass to sustain a club long-term. People come and go as their semester schedules change or they graduate. So do your best to recruit members and keep interested people committed or the club will die.

    Find a dive shop or independent instructor to partner with as your go-to safety and training person. Reach out to nearby or similar schools that have established dive clubs and have them advise/mentor you as you get things started. That step is extremely valuable and will get you a long way. Budget is everything, fight for the biggest budget you can possibly get. Dream big.

    Here's a secret "college club founding 201" tip though: Use whatever angle you can (recruiting optics for the school, research support, etc.) to schmooze the upper administration or board members. Ideally find a board member who's a diver. The fastest way to grow a school club is to get one or more of the people high on the food chain onboard as an unofficial champion/back channel. Admin not just a professor. You'll need it when it comes to funding, accomplishing difficult goals, challenging red tape, and competing for resources with other clubs.
    jadairiii and wheeledgoat like this.

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